Spring Practice: Projecting The Receiver Depth Chart


Can you believe we have less than a week until Spring Practice for UCLA Football? Neither can we, that is why Go Joe Brun is bringing you a look at the squad, position group by position group. We have already tackled two depth charts with the QBs and RBs, so now we take a look at the receiver depth chart, projected mind you.

So here is where we get a lot more complicated and add some speculation into the mix.

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The Experienced

Nov 22, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Devin Lucien (15) catches a touchdown pass against the Southern California Trojans during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Leading the charge through the air will be names Bruin fans know all too well. Jordan Payton, Devin Fuller and Devin Lucien will all be seniors next year which gives the Bruins some experience, something UCLA has not had a lot of before Jim Mora took over.

Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone has implemented a spread offense that usually utilizes several receivers so there is no primary receiver for the Bruins. That does not mean they give the ball to just anybody. Payton, Lucien and Fuller were the top three WRs last year for the Bruins with Payton leading the way.

The Tight Ends

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UCLA Bruins

Thomas Duarte will be retaining his position as the #1 tight end/Y-receiver. Duarte is a freakish athlete that looks like a tight end but moves like wide receiver. Duarte was fifth on the team in both receptions and yards in 2014, yet was first on the team in yards per catch with 19.3.

His role on the team will not only increase but will have support as the #1 high school TE in the nation, Chris Clark, will be heading to Westwood in the Fall.

Until then, the big guy off the line will be Duarte. But that begs the question, who, if anyone, will back up Duarte in the spring. Though the Bruins will try to use a more traditional approach to the TE spot, look for a few of the bigger and more agile receivers to step in and try to help out at a very thin position. The most notable is freshman Alex Van Dyke.

The Next In Line

Oct 4, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Eldridge Massington (82) runs away from Utah Utes defensive back Eric Rowe (18) to score a touchdown in the second half against the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

It is good that the Bruins now have experience, but with that, they now have a lot of young talented players with a lot to prove. As stated above, the Bruins use many receivers, so with these guys, it is not “if” they will see playing time, it is “when”. Mora is not afraid to use freshmen and Mazzone is not afraid to utilize those freshmen.

One of the most exciting last year was Eldridge Massington, a player Brett Hundley said before the start of the 2014 season would surprise everyone, did. He has the hands, size and especially the speed.

Behind him Jordan Lasley, Kenneth Walker and Mossi Johnson should be getting the majority of the reps from the younger players.

One of the younger players many were excited to get on Signing Day in 2014 was Austin Roberts. He is another young gun that has size, speed and skill. Unfortunately he had to put his college playing days on hold as he had to recover from an ACL tear. If recovered in time for Spring Practice, look for this youngster to get in the game quickly.

The Depth Of The Chart

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Though the Bruins have a lot of talent at the top of the depth chart, they also have a strong core of back-ups, walk-ons and scout team players. Though you might not see the likes of Darren Andrews, Logan Sweet, Ahmad Harris and Sam Handler on the field in the fall, they definitely have a place on the UCLA team.

As Spring Practice goes, we will not see a lot that will clue us into what Mora and Co. have in mind for next season, but we will see a lot of players vie for different spots in the passing game. As stated above, the Bruins do not have just one go-to guy, so Spring is a chance for these Bruins to showcase what they have going forward as they prep for their 2015 campaign.

Next Episode: The Projected Offensive Line Depth Chart